The 10,000 mile training session

Matthew Sanderson. Triathlete
Matthew Sanderson. Triathlete
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PEOPLE like to put some distance between themselves and their iron man coach Matt Sanderson, writes Bob Westerdale.

About 10,000 miles, in some instances.

Yet it’s nothing personal.

It’s more to do with the fact Matt is based in Dronfield - and his clients are as far away as Australia, Hong Kong, Brazil and Norway.

For Matt and his partner James Pryke have defied the global recession to front a booming online triathlon coaching service (

The pair first developed the idea for coaching fellow triathletes while racing at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Florida, USA, in 2007.

With a background in the fitness industry as personal trainers and tutors, the transition into triathlon (swimming, cycling and running) coaching was pretty seamless.

Matt, who owns Woodlands Fitness Centre in Dronfield and James, a college tutor, have had to reduce time spent on their day jobs as demand for their online service has soared across the world.

“In the 2012 season we have successfully coached 90 triathletes around the world” said Matt.

“We have athletes based as far away as Hong Kong, as well as the majority in the UK.”.

Athletes enrol on the website and fill in a questionnaire on their fitness background and goals for the coming season.

Matt and James then develop a bespoke training programme which the athlete can then view from the website. The users receive weekly feedback from the coaches.

“Despite the fact that we don’t always deal face to face with our athletes we feel we get to know them well through weekly emails, Skype and training camps which many of the athletes attend” said Matt.

Matt is holding two Ironman distance training camps in the Canary Islands in March and France in April and has been asked to host training camps in Exmoor, Devon, for athletes looking at training for the annual Ironman race held there.

They also run camps in the Peak District every three months. Matt and James also provide scientific ‘WattBike’ indoor cycle efficiency and power tests from Woodlands.

So successful has the online programme been, that Matt and James forsee a possible full time role coaching athletes around the world.

“It was a very distant dream back in 2007 but it now looks like an appealing way to spend the working day offering advice on a sport that we love and working with like-minded people - we are expanding now and have just recruited an additional coach into our team so we can continue to take on new athletes” said Matt.